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Histrionic Personality Disorder Causes

(Also Known As: Depression Causes, Antisocial Causes, Histrionic Causes, Antisocial Personality Causes, Conversion Disorder Causes, Somatization Disorder Causes)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Causes Histrionic Personality Disorder?

There is little information about what causes an individual to become histrionic. While the definite cause of HPD is unknown, it is believed that the condition is brought about by biological, cognitive, physiological, developmental, and social factors.

Neurochemical/Physiological Causes. According to research, a histrionic individual has a highly responsive noradrenergic system, the mechanism responsible for the release of norepinephrine, a kind of neurotransmitter. The tendency of a histrionic individual to be excessively emotional when rejected stems from the malfunctioning of a group of neurotransmitters known as catecholamines.

Developmental Causes. Freud’s psychosexual stages of development are an important factor that determines the psychological development of an individual during their adult life. According to early psychoanalysts, the genital stage is vital in determining HPD. For later psychoanalysts, however, the more important determinant of HPD is the oral phase. For a majority of psychoanalysts, traumatic childhood events can be a factor of why an individual can become histrionic as an adult. The severe forms of the disorder are in fact attributed to rejection during the early stages of mother-child relationship. As a defense mechanism, a histrionic individual uses repression, dissociation, denial, displacement, and rationalization.

  • Repression is the most basic defense mechanism. When what they are thinking causes them to be anxious or is not acceptable to them, repression is used as a barrier to keep these thoughts from consciousness.
  • Denial is usually resorted to when the individual with HPD thinks that their previous problem has already disappeared. However, this does not change their behavior.
  • Dissociation usually results with the individual displaying multiple personalities.
  • Displacement takes place when the patient moves the affect from one idea to another. For instance, an individual dealing with histrionic personality disorder that is angry at their boss may shift their anger to their spouses.
  • Rationalization takes place when the individual explains their behavior so that it would gain recognition from others.

Biosocial Learning Causes. According to the biosocial model, social and biological factors play a crucial role in personality development. Histrionic individuals results from inconsistent interpersonal reinforcements from their parents. They have learned to get what they want from others by attracting their attention.

Sociocultural Causes. Studies of certain cultures with high percentage of HPD revealed social and cultural roots of the disorder. Histrionic individuals are more prevalent in cultures where there is an unlimited show of emotion.

Personal Variables. Researchers have established a link between the age of histrionic individuals and the behavior they display. While its symptoms are long lasting, the characteristics of a histrionic individual may change depending on the age. For example, seductiveness is more likely in a younger histrionic individuals rather than an older one.

Could You Have Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic Personality Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder - disregard/violation of rights of others, deceitful, manipulative, sociopaths, psychopaths
Borderline Personality Disorder - unstable sense of self, mood instability, distorted identity, dissociation
Dependent Personality Disorder – asthenic personality disorder, difficulty making decisions alone, dependent behavior, lack of self confidence, need for nurturance and attention from others.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – lack of empathy, grandiosity, pervasive need for admiration, self centeredness